« AnteriorContinuar »
about the bigness of the common cat; but its body, when tolerably fed, is thicker. The legs are short; the neck also is very short; and its long and thick covering renders it so shapeless to view, that it seems only an irregular lump of living matIts little and remarkably ugly head, stands close between the shoulders. The face hath much of the monkey aspect, though greatly more unpleasing. It is not of the colour of the body, but blackish, and covered over with short hair, unlike to that on the rest of the body. Its small and heavy eyes, are always half shut; and the creature has no appearance at all of ears. Its feet are flat, and narrower than in any other animal whatsoever a plain proof that it was never formed for walking. But the claws are very useful for laying hold on the bark of a tree, by striking deep into it.
This sluggish animal rarely chuses to change its place; never, but when compelled by absolute necessity. As upon the ground, it would be a prey to every other animal, and liable to many dangers, therefore its place of residence is a tree, which it generally selects very large and flourishing. Here it is safe from all animals, except those which climb these trees for the birds that roost on them: to these it falls often a sacrifice: but lives greatly secure from all others.
It is very remarkable, that the Sloth always ascends to the top of a tree, only baiting as it goes, before it begins its devastation. And this is doubtless from the instinctive guidance of Providence; for was it to begin eating upwards, when it had devoured all, it would have to climb down a wearisome journey from the top of a dead tree; and would be half starved in the attempt. But this is not all. The havock that one single Sloth makes on the largest and fairest tree is such, that it is easily seen and this, unless it might happen also from accidents, would betray the creature. The Sloth eats not only the leaves, but the buds, and the very bark all the way as it goes, leaving only a dead branch. It feeds in the most voluptuous manner, scarcely moving out of its place for many hours together; all the time eating, and sluggishly half closing its sleepy eyes. As it feeds, the tree decays; but its decay is in the course of nature. The dead boughs become more and more numerous all the way downwards; and in the end, when the creature has eaten the last part of its provision, it is as near the ground as it can be in any part of the feeding; and it has nothing to do, but to climb down, as fast as it can, and crawl to another. But if it be necessary to go to any distance from this, there is no wonder (so slow and uneasy is its motion, and so unwieldy its shapeless bulk) that, from fat, it absolutely becomes lean in the expe dition.
When the female is big with young, she climbs the trunk of some old tree, in which there is an hollow, from some accidental decay, at a distance from the ground. In this circum
stance only, the natural laziness of the creature doth not get the better of it; but what is it which Nature omits, when the care of the offspring is the object? When the time of her bringing forth approaches, as soon as she has fixed upon such a hollow for depositing her young, she climbs to the very highest bough of the tree, and there feeds faster than ordinary. When the time is very near, its belly being well filled, it descends with more than its accustomed haste into the hole, to have the young creatures brought forth. There are usually two, sometimes three. These are to be supported by suckling, till they are able to crawl: but the Sloth is an inhabitant of the hotter parts of America, and in those climates creatures acquire this power sooner. It is well that the dam is full fed before she retires to the place of her bringing forth; for she is to support these young ones by her milk, all this time, without being able to get out and eat for her own supply. She is round and fleshy when she retires for this purpose; but nothing living can be so absolute a skeleton as she is when she comes out. She crawls in the best manner she can, to the lowest branches, which she did not strip, that there might be food for the young ones. These follow her; and they soon begin to feed as she does. The time of bringing forth her young, is a period of strange hurry to this auimal: it costs her two or three journies up and down the tree, a thing that never happens on any other occasion.
Many and great are the dangers which surround it while it is travelling to a new habitation. Whatever beast thinks it worth eating, may take it: and if it escape these, it may be trod to death by the step of some of the larger kinds. It is naturally, and indeed reasonably enough, the most timorous of all. animals, for it can neither fight nor fly. While it is on its journey upon the ground, or if it be put there by way of experiment, the treading of an human foot shakes the earth enough to put it into terrors. It trembles; the head is turned about every way in a moment; and the deformed little mouth is opened to cry like a young kitten. The note is very plaintive, and very particular. It may be expressed by the letters ai, ai; and from this, some have called the creature by the name of di. Insignificant as this animal is, who yet can help observing the special hand of a gracious Providence in its formation? Not designed for motion, its feet are nevertheless furnished with elaws, which enable it to hold fast in that station which is necessary for it. Helpless as it is, and liable to a thousand mischances on the ground, the Universal Provider hath assigned it a place of safety, where it finds plenty of food; and as chang ing its place would be uneasy and dangerous, he hath made drinking unnecessary to it, from the nature of its food and its own constitution. To render it, defenceless as it is, the less obnoxious to pursuit, the colour wherewith the Creator hath clothed it, serves to secure it even from view:--and the amaz
ing instinct wherewith it is endowed, and which we have remarked, respecting its manner of feeding from the top to the bottom, abundantly evinces a designing and directing hand, as well as that care of the young, which even stimulates this most slothful of creatures to a degree of industry; and holds out a lesson to those parents who are so abandoned and worthless, as to leave their offspring to want and misery, for the wretched gratification of drunkenness, idleness, and such shameful vices.
But while we behold, with pleasure, the traces of provident care, even in this creature, let it shew us, as in a glass, the despicable figure of that vice, whence it hath its naine, and which it so well delineates. The sleepy, eating, lazy, worthless, useless animal, which lodged upon a green branch, would be content never to move therefromi, so it could there continually be fed-eat at ease, and slumber at will;-and which indeed never leaves the branch till it hath destroyed it, and thus is compelled to move. This contemptible lump of matter well represents to us the man who lives only to cat and to drink; to indulge his appetite, to feast his flesh, to dose away his life in sleepy inactivity, and to consume himself (his nobler self, his soul) and his substance, in wretched indolence, and bodily indulgences. Let him but sleep; cram his overcharged stomach; molest not his quiet; let him sit still, or saunter about, and yawn, and stretch himself, and he is at the very pinnacle of his wishes!-useless and unprofitable. Dost thou not remember that thou art a man !~ibat thou wast not born merely to breathe an animal life, fruges consumere ; not merely, sloth-like, to eat up the tree upon which thou art stationed :-thine it is to cultivate that tree. Thou hast a soul, and it much behoves thee, by diligent care, to seek its future welfare:- thou art a member of the community, and art called upon industriously to fill up the duties of thy station. Reason and Religion alike demand an exertion of thy faculties; and, to be a man, thou must labour,―much more to be a Christian! For the spiritual life is compared to a warfare,-to a journey,-to a race! How incompatible then is sloth with Christianity! and how disgraceful, both to religion and to himself, is the character of an ide Christian!
1. How far were the Israclities justifiable in taking from the Egyptians so many valuable articles, under the pretence of borrowing them? Exod. xii. 55.
2. Why is it said in Psalm lv. 23." The wicked shall not live out half their days," when other Scriptures declare, that there is an appointed time for man upon earth, and that the purposes of God are unalterable?
REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
A new Historical, Geographical, Chronological, Etymological, and Critical Dictionary of the Holy Bible, &c. By Mr. John Brown, Minister of the Gospel, Haddington: much enlarged from the Dictionaries of Calmet, &c. in Two Volumes, 8vo. Montrose, 1800.
THE industry, the erudition, and, above all, the eminent piety of the late Rev. J. Brown, have procured for his works a deservedly extensive sale in the churches of the saints. His valuable work, intituled, "A Dictionary of the Holy Bible," &c. printed at Edinburgh, by Murray and Cochran, 1797, we have taken notice of in a former number. This Dictionary, printed at Montrose, and which bears the name of Mr. Brown, is, however, in many important respects, a very different work. In some fundamental articles of religion, it contains sentiments directly opposite to Mr. Brown's; and, in others, his sentiments and views are, in one instance, to the extent of six pages, totally left out. In support of these charges we refer the reader to the words Adam, Beget, Gospel, Justice, Righteousness, and Sanctification. It is true, that the Montrose edition is said to be "much enlarged from the Dictionaries of Calmet, Symon," &c. ; but candour surely required that the editor should furnish his reader with a key to distinguish the author's genuine sentiments from those which have been intermingled or added; especially when they are so contradictory to what the good man conceived to be the oracles of God. We are requested to add, that the author's sons, ministers of the gospel at Whitburn, Inverkeithing, and Dalkeith, conceive their venerable father's name to be much dishonoured by being thus unwarrantably prefixed to such a publication.
Periodical Accounts of the Baptist Missionary Society. No. X. 80.
THIS Number contains a print and Memoir of the late Mr. John Thomas, who died at Dinagepore, Oct. 13, 1801. The intelligence is interesting and encouraging. It includes the substance of two quarterly packets, or the progress of the mission from Oct. 5, 1801, to April 4, 1802. The printing-press, which, for the last two or three years has been at work, appears to be a great blessing to this mission. Besides giving the Scriptures to the natives in their own fanguage, many thousand of small tracts have been printed, and distributed in several itinerant tours round the country; the effects of which are, that a general attention is excited; many persons, from various and distant quarters, are almost continually applying for instruction; and several have embraced the gospel.
Certain European infidels, aware, it seems, of the affinity between Deism and Heathenism, have actually become the apologists for the latter; and have discovered an inclination to excite the govern ment to stop all attempts to overturn it; but their efforts have hitherto been unsuccessful.
Mr. Carey's appointment in the college at Calcutta, seems to have been the means of good, not only to individuals under his care, but to several Portugueze Catholics in that city, to whom his frequent residence there has given him access.
The Cast, which threatened to be an insuperable barrier in the way of Christianity, has not only given way in the cases of those who have been baptized, but others seem to make light of it. If the Lord con. tinue to bless the gospel amongst them, it is not improbable that it may gradually fall into contempt.
A good number of European
Christians in India, some of whom are the fruits of the mission, are active in their respective spheres. Letters, in defence of Christianity, written by Mr. Cunningham, have appeared in The Oriental Star (a Calcutta newspaper) and have since been reprinted at Serampore, in the form of a pamphlet.
Three of the baptized natives have given much pain to the Missionaries, by their contentious conduct; but the exercise of a strict and faithful discipline, has been the means of recovering two of them.
"God," say the Missionaries, "we trust, will bring good out of this evil. It has furnished us with an opportunity of laying before our Hindoo brethren and sisters, in a peculiar manner, the necessity of universal holiness, and the impossibility of uniting the service of any one sin with that of Jesus Christ. The steps also which have been taken with the offending parties, have convinced them, more than many exhortations, of our determi nations to retain none in the church who are not willing to depart from all iniquity. We feared it would have been a stumbling-block in the way of our inquiring friends; but it appears to have operated, through the Divine Goodness, in a contrary way."
"As several liave lost cast for, or through the gospel, an opportunity is afforded to gather up their children. The Missionaries have accordingly established a free-school, for the board, clothing, and tuition of twenty native youths, either children of Christian parents, or of such as are willing to lose cast. In this school they employ Christian Hindoos as teachers, though the whole is inspected by themselves. The expence is estimated at about 170l. a year; the chief of which is subscribed by the religious public of Bengal.”
Besides the above intelligence, the Number contains, a Letter from the Society to the Missionaries; to the Ci ristian Hindoos; — and to Felix Carey, who is chosen to be a Missionary the Designation of Mr. Chamberlain; and Resolutions of the Committee.
N. B. We learn from the Secretary of the Society, that since the present Number has been out, other letters have arrived, of as late date as July 16, 1802, giving an account of six more having been baptized; namely, Five natives and one European. Among the former was Golook, the married daughter of Kristno; who having been forcibly carried away about a year before, and compelled to marry a man to whom she had been betrothed in childhood, after much cruel treatment for her refusal to renounce Christianity, made her escape ia May last. She was, at her own repeated request, baptized in June; and, it is said, her husband does not wish her to return. Their number of members now is twenty-four;' viz. Thirteen natives, and eleven Europeans.
The writer of Mr. Thomas's Memoir, wishes the reader to draw his pen over the word "ages,” in p. 247, 1. 9.; an erratum which was too late for correction.
Correction, Instruction; or the Rod and the Word: a Treatise on Afflictions, &c. By Thomas Case, M. A. New Edition, 12mo, 25.
MR. CASE was a Non-conformist Minister, of considerable eminence and ability. The work before us was originally conceived by way of private meditations,' when in prison for his Non-conformity. Upon his enlargement, these meditations were thrown into the form of sermons on Psalm xciv.
The publication of them was then earnestly solicited by many, and particularly by the great and excellent Dr. Manton; who, when he perused the MS. addressed the author in a letter which concludes thus: "Good Sir, be persuaded to publish these discourses: the subject is useful; and your manner of handling it, warm and affectionate; do not deprive the world of your experiences. Certainly my heart is none of the tenderest; yet, if heart answereth to heart, I can easily foresee much success; and that you will not repent of the publication," &c. It would be super